Amelia's Journey: How Swift School Transformed Her Life and Inspired Her Teaching Career
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Amelia Herbert tried her best to stay home during her early elementary school days. Brainstorm the many reasons young students use to convince their parents they don’t need to go to school, and Amelia most likely used it as she reasoned with her mother. The real reason for Amelia not wanting to step foot in the public school classroom was her undiagnosed dyslexia.
“I was in the public school system, and it was very challenging for me,” Amelia said. “My self-esteem was low, and I struggled in every academic subject, especially reading. I had no confidence, and I lacked motivation. In third grade, my teacher encouraged me to get a psychoeducational evaluation. Following the evaluation, I was diagnosed with dyslexia and related language-based learning differences, in addition to an anxiety disorder. It was a relief to discover why academics did not come naturally to me as they did to my peers.”
Amelia experienced a change in scenery when she enrolled in a private school for fourth grade. The new school was not just any private school, but rather Swift School, where the Orton-Gillingham Approach and a multi-sensory approach to learning helped students receive successful remediation. For anxious Amelia, who dreaded school, a change happened almost immediately.
“My parents saw a change in me within the first few weeks after attending Swift School,” she noted. “I enjoyed being around peers that [originally] had difficulty in school like me. I did not want to leave my friends at my old school, but within weeks of attending Swift, I loved being seen and understood as the individual I was.”
Each teacher throughout Amelia’s three years at Swift championed her and helped her celebrate her unique strengths and what she brought to the classroom as an individual. For that reason, the entire Swift School faculty received her gratitude as she reflected on her experience.
“All my teachers played an important role in my life academically and personally. They helped me grow tremendously, and each teacher saw me as a person, not just as my diagnosis.”
Under the tutelage of incredible teachers, Amelia became more confident at Swift School and realized she could achieve her goals. She learned that she was more than just a test score and that standardized tests did not accurately reflect her academic abilities. After finishing her time at Swift School, Amelia felt prepared and confident in her ability to succeed.
In May 2023, Amelia graduated from Georgia College and State University. Following the short summer break, she will return to the classroom in the fall. This time, the roles have changed as a group of students will call her “Ms. Herbert,” and she will have the same incredible impact on her students in Dunwoody, Ga. that Swift School had on her.
“Teaching was the only career I wanted to do with my life, and after being diagnosed, it drove me to want to be a teacher more,” she said. “As a teacher, my goal is to support my students in achieving success within and beyond the confines of the classroom. Students are more than an academic score, and I want them to feel safe in their learning environment.
There’s no doubt in her mind that Swift School helped set her on the path to becoming a teacher. Ask her former Swift School teachers if they have doubts about her success as a teacher, and the answer will be a resounding “no.” She is prepared for the challenge #BecauseofSwiftSchool